Naka: 'Canes still dangerous
Naka Drotské (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The big difference between the Cheetahs team of 2013 and that of previous years, is their defence. And that will be firmly in the spotlight when they host the Hurricanes at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
A look at their try scoring stats after their first four home games in the last five seasons show that only twice the Cheetahs have scored more tries than they conceded, and that was back in 2008 (scored 13, conceded 12) and 2009 (scored 10, conceded eight).
This year, after four home games, the team from central South Africa have scored 13 tries and leaked only five, showing the massive improvement in their defence.
Last season, they scored eight and conceded 15 in their first four home games, in 2011 they scored 13 and conceded 16 and in 2010 the Cheetahs crossed for seven tries, but had to stand behind their own posts 14 times.
But the Hurricanes, despite coming off a demoralising loss to the Bulls last weekend, are still a very dangerous side. They’ve won twice and lost twice in their four visits to Bloemfontein.
It’s a good return for the Cheetahs, who have only won five times and drawn once out of 17 home matches against teams from New Zealand.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské this week warned his team not to underestimate the Hurricanes, who like to play a similar expansive game than the men from Bloem.
“They are also an expansive team and like to play wide with their very exciting outside backs,” said Drotské.
“But we won’t be focusing too much on what happened to them against the Bulls. Those two intercept tries in the first half basically took game away from the Hurricanes and I’m sure they won‘t play like that in their own half again.
“They remain a special team that can create tries from anywhere on the field, so our defensive lines from tactical kicking will have to be very good. We’ve worked hard on that.
“Our matches against them in the last two years were high scoring games, but our defence has improved a lot since then.”
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Frans Viljoen, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuisen.
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Landman Ligtoring, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
15 Andre Taylor/James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito (captain), 7 Jack Lam/Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 1 Ben Franks, 2 Ash Dixon
Substitutes: 16 Reggie Goodes 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen 18 James Broadhurst 19 Brad Shields 20 Chris Smylie 21 Tusi Pisi 22 James Marshall/Karl Lowe